U.S. Finally Captures the Benghazi ‘Ringleader’ who CNN Interviewed Last Year

It is good news that we’ve finally apprehended somebody in the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. NPR reports:

The United States says it has captured a militant suspected of leading the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby.

Ahmed Abu Khattala was captured by American troops after coordinating with law enforcement. Kirby said Khattala was captured on Sunday and all U.S. personnel involved in the operation are safe.

Khattala, said Kirby, is now “in a secure location outside of Libya.”

But let’s not pretend this is some sort of intelligence coup. 

NRP writes that he was living out “in the open” and CNN interviewed him last summer, angering many Republicans in Congress who asked how CNN could find him but the U.S. military could not:

A Republican lawmaker demanded Wednesday to know why investigators have not captured or killed any of the suspects in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, pointing out that CNN was able to find a man who some say was the ringleader in the assault that left the ambassador and three other Americans dead.

Eight GOP lawmakers are asking that incoming FBI Director James Comey brief Congress within 30 days about the investigation. They say the administration’s inquiry into the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya has been “simply unacceptable,” according to a draft letter obtained by CNN.

“One of the pertinent questions today is why we have not captured or killed the terrorist who committed these attacks?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told reporters. “News out today that CNN was able to go in and talk to one of the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasn’t been able to get after them and capture or kill the people? How come the FBI isn’t doing this and yet CNN is?”

Chaffetz was referring to CNN’s recent interview with Ahmed Abu Khattala, who Libyan and U.S. officials have described as the Benghazi leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated militia group Ansar al-Sharia — one of many groups that filled the vacuum of authority following the overthrow of Moammar Gadhafi.

The early report states that Khattala was captured by SOF troops as well as an agent from the FBI and that he’s currently en route to the U.S. on a Navy ship. 

Exit questions: Has the FBI read Khattala his Miranda rights yet?

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